The parents of a New Zealander who could face the death penalty in China for trying to smuggle drugs out of the country have spoken publicly about their son's plight.
Peter Gardner, 26, was detained on November 8 when Customs allegedly found more than 30 kilograms of methamphetamine in his luggage as he checked in at Guangzhou airport.
His trial was held this month in Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court and he is now awaiting a decision from the judge on his fate.
Gardner, who also holds Australian citizenship, could face execution by firing squad if he is convicted.
"No one really deserves to die like that. No one deserves to be executed," Gardner's father Russell told TV3's 3D programme.
Gardner's parents believe their son - through his body building contacts - found himself involved with gangs linked to Sydney's sports drug scene.
He got into debt, then got into trouble.
Gardner told his mother, Sandy Cornelius, that he had been threatened.
"He said, 'I was shot at,'" Ms Cornelius said.
Gardner's New Zealand-based lawyer, Craig Tuck, said there was "good evidence to suggest that the syndicate or cartel had him under the hammer and were certainly keen for him to do certain things".
He had made a previous trip to Guangzhou in September last year to pick up performance-enhancing drugs and successfully brought them into Australia.
Gardner, who was living in Sydney with his father, was originally detained along with 22-year-old Sydney woman Kalynda Davis, who was released without charge.
On a recent trip to Beijing, Foreign Minister Murray McCully met with his counterpart, Wang Yi.
"I raised New Zealand's strong opposition to the death penalty when I met with the Chinese Foreign Minister in Beijing," Mr McCully said in a statement to NZ Newswire.
"It would be inappropriate to discuss specific details, particularly in relation to a case currently proceeding through the courts."
Source: TVNZ, June 1, 2015
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